CMU, Bukidnon's 1st university, celebrates centennial

MUSUAN, Maramag, Bukidnon (MindaNews/15 September) – The Central Mindanao University is celebrating its 100th anniversary from September 12 to 18, 2010 with the theme “Reminiscing the Past, Celebrating the Present, Creating the Future,” organizers told MindaNews.

Dr. Jose Escarlos Jr, CMU alumni association president, said they are expecting hundreds of alumni to attend the grand alumni homecoming on September 16 to 17 at the university town here.

One of the highlights, he said, is the conferment of the Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa, to Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri on September 17.

Based on CMU’s online information, 80 percent of its students are children of farmers.

Central Mindanao University started as the Mailag Industrial School in 1910, in Mailag, Malaybalay. Put up by the Americans, it used to offer only the first four grades of the elementary agriculture curriculum.

It later became a training ground for local teachers, as it was difficult to recruit non-Bukidnon teachers to serve in newly opened public schools.

In 1918, the school was renamed the Bukidnon Agricultural School and offered up to the seventh grade of the elementary agriculture curriculum. It was later relocated to Managok, Malaybalay.

After a few years it offered the secondary agriculture curriculum. By 1923, it was renamed the Bukidnon Rural High School and given 724 hectares by virtue of Proclamation No. 30.

In 1928, the Philippine Legislature changed the name of the school to Bukidnon Agricultural High School, which was then a secondary agricultural school for male students. In 1938, it was renamed the Bukidnon National Agricultural School and offered the secondary homemaking curriculum for female students.

After the war, Superintendent Zosimo Montemayor reopened the school but due to its terrible condition caused by World War II, the school was transferred to Musuan, Maramag, Bukidnon.

Congressman Cesar Fortich of Bukidnon sponsored House Bill 3041, which elevated BNAS into an agricultural state college. On June 21, 1952, President Elpidio Quirino signed Republic Act 807, otherwise known as the Mindanao Agricultural College (MAC) Charter which also installed Zosimo Montemayor as President. The law paved the way for funding from the national government as well as from foreign sources.

In 1958, President Carlos Garcia, on recommendation of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, issued Proclamation No. 476 granting CMU 3,401 hectares of land.

The titling of land began as early as 1961 before the Court of First Instance of Bukidnon to determine the rights of adverse claimants, if there were any.

In 1974, the 1971 Cadastral Court decision for the segregation of several hectares was amended for humanitarian reason and the government’s agrarian program. The 321.9 hectares were properly segregated and given to legitimate claimants and CMU was granted title to 3,080 hectares.

The only other university in the province is the Bukidnon State University in Malaybalay City. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)